Like many of its peers covering Silicon Valley, Engadget worked as a kind of permanent start-up, with 16-hour days to compete in the always-on news cycle, but AOL treated it as one more niche site. “We have been working on blogging technology that was developed in 2003, we haven’t made a hire since I started running the site, and I thought we could be more successful elsewhere,” said Joshua Topolsky, who was the editor of Engadget until the middle of last month.
So Mr. Topolsky and as many as eight of the more prominent editorial and technology staff members at Engadget have left or are leaving AOL and are about to build a new gadget site by joining forces with, yes, you guessed right, their old friend Mr. Bankoff, who now runs a federation of sports sites called SB Nation.
Jim Bankoff was working at AOL in 2005, and helped bring Engadget into the AOL fold.
Joshua Topolsky, on his personal blog:
Of course, the natural question I’m sure a lot of people have is: why SB Nation? The easy answer is that the people at SB Nation share my vision of what publishing looks like in the year 2011. They think that the technology used to create and distribute news on the web (and mobile) is as important as the people who are responsible for the content itself. And that’s not just pillow talk — SB Nation is actively evolving its tools and processes to meet the growing and changing needs of its vast editorial teams and their audience communities. They’re building for the web as it is now. From the perspective of a journalist who also happens to be a huge nerd, that’s a match made in heaven. SBN isn’t just another media company pushing news out — it’s a testbed and lab for some of the newest and most interesting publishing tools I’ve ever seen. In short, I was blown away when I saw what kind of technology they’re using to get news on their front page and engage audiences, and even more blown away when I started talking to them about what could come next.
In the coming months I’m going to be laser focused on one thing: building the best tech site in the world — and I would love to hear what you guys think the next phase in technology and gadget news should look like.
I’m excited. Guys like Topolsky and Nilay Patel are some of the best tech journalists in the industry, and I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves at this new gig.
Tech journalism is a roller coaster world. It revolves heavily around breaking stories and page views. Engadget simply used its journalistic weight and excellent coverage to build its reader base. I have no doubt SB Nation will enjoy similar success as AOL’s tech site.